Roche Partners with DNA Electronics to Develop Semiconductor-Based Sequencing System

BRANFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- 454 Life Sciences, a Roche Company, announced today that it has entered an exclusive partnership with DNA Electronics for the development of a low-cost, high-throughput DNA sequencing system. As part of the agreement, Roche has signed a non-exclusive license for relevant IP from DNA Electronics’ proprietary semiconductor technology portfolio, which enables sensitive detection of nucleotide incorporation during sequencing. The technology will build on 454 Life Sciences’ current pyrosequencing-based sequencing platforms by enabling a seamless evolution from optical detection to inexpensive, highly scalable electrochemical detection. The collaboration leverages 454 Life Sciences’ long read sequencing chemistry with DNA Electronics’ unique knowledge of semiconductor design and expertise in pH-mediated detection of nucleotide insertions, to produce a long read, high density sequencing platform. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

The promise of routine human genome sequencing continues to inspire the scientific community, particularly in cancer research, where genetics play a large role in disease detection, progression and treatment. Combining the scalability and cost savings of semiconductor technology, a result of decades of advances in the computing industry, with 454 Life Sciences’ long read chemistry has the potential to enable comprehensive human genome mutation and structural variation identification within hours.

“We’re pleased to work together with DNA Electronics, the inventors of ISFET DNA sequencing technology, to bring the benefits of semiconductors to the field of sequencing,” said Christopher McLeod, President and CEO of 454 Life Sciences. “This collaboration nicely combines our expertise in long read sequencing chemistry with DNA Electronics’ understanding of the ISFET technology and semiconductor design.”

Commenting on the signing of the agreement with Roche, DNA Electronics Chairman and CEO, Professor Chris Toumazou, said, “We have always believed that ISFET semiconductor technology will play a significant role in the future of life science and healthcare markets. We are delighted to embark on this collaboration with 454 Life Sciences, a pioneer in the field of high-throughput sequencing.”

As the world leader in in vitro diagnostics, Roche is committed to developing sequencing solutions for the life science research and diagnostic communities which can ultimately save and improve the quality of human lives. This partnership makes possible another key component of Roche’s growing future sequencing portfolio, expanding upon the earlier announced collaboration with IBM for nanopore-based single molecule sequencing.

For more information on 454 Sequencing Systems, visit

About Roche

Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is a leader in research-focused healthcare with combined strengths in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Roche is the world’s largest biotech company with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, virology, inflammation, metabolism and CNS. Roche is also the world leader in in-vitro diagnostics, tissue-based cancer diagnostics and a pioneer in diabetes management. Roche’s personalised healthcare strategy aims at providing medicines and diagnostic tools that enable tangible improvements in the health, quality of life and survival of patients. In 2009, Roche had over 80,000 employees worldwide and invested almost 10 billion Swiss francs in R&D. The Group posted sales of 49.1 billion Swiss francs. Genentech, United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche has a majority stake in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan. For more information:

About DNA Electronics

DNA Electronics is a fabless semiconductor solution provider for real-time nucleic acid detection which enable faster, simpler and more cost-effective DNA analysis platforms. The company’s IP portfolio includes techniques for monitoring nucleotide insertions using solid-state biosensors on standard CMOS chip technology, enabling label-free electronic DNA sequencing and diagnostics platforms. DNA Electronics (DNAe) has developed the Genalysis® platform of disposable silicon chip-based solutions for real-time nucleic acid sequence detection at the point of care, providing end users with technology as yet unavailable outside a laboratory. For more information:

454, 454 SEQUENCING, and 454 LIFE SCIENCES are trademarks of Roche.

Other brands or product names are trademarks of their respective holders.


Roche Diagnostics
Dr. Burkhard Ziebolz
Phone: +49 8856 604830
Email: [email protected]
454 Life Sciences Corporation, a Roche Company
Dr. Ulrich Schwoerer
Phone: 203-871-2300
Email: [email protected]

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